#1 Kansas Jayhawks at #11 West Virginia Mountaineers
WVU Coliseum – Morgantown, West Virginia
Tuesday, January 12, 2016, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Kansas -1
Current Line: Kansas -2 1/2
Opening Total: 154
Current Total: 153
Opening Money Line: Kansas -125 / West Virginia +105
Current Money Line: Kansas -140 / West Virginia +120
Both the Kansas Jayhawks and West Virginia Mountaineers are 14-1 as they meet Tuesday in Morgantown. Kansas is #1 in both polls and West Virginia is #11. Both teams are 3-0 in the Big 12, widely considered the best conference in college basketball.
Kansas leads the series 4-2 against West Virginia. The two teams split the season series last year with both claiming a narrow win at home. West Virginia makes the return trip to Lawrence February 9.
Kansas is coached by Bill Self. The Jayhawks lost to Michigan state in Chicago early in the season, but has won 13 straight games since then. Kansas has wins over UCLA and Vanderbilt in the Maui Invitational, home wins over Harvard, Oregon State, Montana, Baylor, and Oklahoma in triple overtime, plus road wins over San Diego State and Texas Tech 69-59 last Saturday. Kansas is 9-3 ATS and the total is 5-7 this season. The Jayhawks were 6.5 point favorites against Texas Tech and the total was 149.
West Virginia is coached by Bob Huggins. With his next win, he will move into a tie for tenth all-time with Lute Olsen at 780 career wins. The Mountaineers lost to Virginia in the Jimmy V Classic in New York. WVU has won seven straight games since then. The Mountaineers have home wins over James Madison, Richmond, San Diego State, Louisiana-Monroe, Marshall, and Oklahoma State 77-60 last Saturday, plus road wins at Virginia Tech, Kansas State and TCU. West Virginia is 7-5 ATS and the total is 6-6 this season. The Mountaineers were 14.5 point favorites against Oklahoma State and the total was 142.5.
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Kansas is out scoring teams 88-67 this season. The Jayhawks are #2 in scoring nationally. Kansas is shooting 50.1% from the field and 45.9% from 3 point range. The Jayhawks are #8 in field goal percentage and #2 in three point shooting nationally. Kansas makes 72.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 39.4% from the field and 32.7% from 3 point range. The Jayhawks are #36 nationally in field goal defense. Kansas averages 39.4 rebounds a game and opponents average 29.7 per game. The Jayhawks average 18.1 assists, 11.5 turnovers, 8.2 steals and 4.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.9 assists, 15.3 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 3.9 blocks per game.
Forward Perry Ellis averages 16 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. Guard Wayne Selden, Jr. averages 15.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1 steal a game. Frank Mason III averages 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Devonte’ Graham averages 10.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Brannen Greene averages 8.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Six other players get significant time in the rotation.
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West Virginia is outscoring teams 86-63 this season. The Mountaineers are #6 in scoring and #24 in points allowed nationally. West Virginia is shooting 47.8% from the field and 31.5% from 3 point range. The Mountaineers are #38 in field goal shooting. WVU makes 65.9% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.7% from the field and 25.4% from 3 point range. The Mountaineers are #2 in three point defense nationally. West Virginia averages 41.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 26.5. The Mountaineers are #31 in rebounding and #8 in rebounds allowed nationally. WVU averages 17.1 assists, 14.5 turnovers, 11.3 steals and 2.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.5 assists, 20.8 turnovers, 6.7 steals and 2.2 blocks per game.
Forward Devin Williams averages 14.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Jevon Carter averages 12.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game. Jaysean Paige averages 12.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Daxter Miles, Jr. averages 12.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He is probable with an ankle injury. Jonathan Holton averages 9.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Six other players get significant time in the rotation.
Kansas is 4-0 ATS in road games, 7-1 against teams with winning records, 6-1 after a straight up win, after a cover, and overall, 4-1 against teams with a winning home record, and 6-2 in Tuesday games. The over is 4-1 in this series recently.
West Virginia is 5-0 ATS against teams with winning road records, 9-2 at home, 5-2 in Tuesday games and 2-5 after a straight up win. The home team is 5-1 ATS in this series.
Both of these teams score in the high 80’s so this should be an exciting up and down game. Perhaps not as thrilling as the Kansas-Oklahoma game last Monday, but few games are. The Big 12 will be a meat grinder with the top teams beating up on each other. You have to protect home court, and I think the Mountaineers do just that in a close home upset.